Netflix has come a very long way indeed, as the service is now available in more than 40 countries. The company has also produced its share of original content, with close to two dozen Netflix-produced shows currently available. However, it is only now that Netflix is announcing its first foreign-language series, a 13-episode parody show […]
Netflix has come a very long way indeed, as the service is now available in more than 40 countries. The company has also produced its share of original content, with close to two dozen Netflix-produced shows currently available. However, it is only now that Netflix is announcing its first foreign-language series, a 13-episode parody show set against the backdrop of association football, or soccer for the majority of those living in America.
According to Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, the soccer-inspired comedy serves as the company’s power play for its Spanish-speaking markets, as the company considers the Latin American markets to be particularly important to its business. While companies such as HBO have been offering original content for much longer, Netflix has its own way of attracting viewers from all around the world, as it is seemingly hedging its bets on programs created in multiple languages, thus giving the service a more continental appeal.
It won’t be until next year when the soccer parody show will be making its debut, and as of now, it doesn’t even have an official title. It is, however, created by the same production team that gave us Mexican hit movie Nosotros los Nobles, a film that is essentially the Mexican equivalent of American comedy Arrested Development – rich family finds itself having to deal with the reality and unexpectedness of poverty. The cast will be culled from all over Latin America, though it is set to be shot in Mexico.
Aside from Spanish-speaking markets, Netflix also has its eye on other non-English-speaking markets, including France and Germany. Market analysts expect that Netflix will become available in those countries within 2014, though this has yet to be fully confirmed by the company as of this writing. In a recent report, Netflix spokesman Joris Evers was quoted as saying that about 20 percent, or one out of five titles, would have a local flavor to them once Netflix debuts in a new market. Local flavor, according to Evers, would mean “non-Hollywood” content, and Netflix would decide on which content would stream in a new market much like it does when considering original series to approve. That means the company would ascertain which TV shows and movies are popular in a given country, and also fully analyze which types shows and movies are usually pirated by the country’s residents.
Still, one can argue that the soccer-based parody show is not the first Netflix series to be produced in a foreign language. Lillyhammer, for instance, is Netflix’s first-ever original series, and while its lead star, Steven Van Zandt, is an American, most of the dialogue in the series is in Norwegian, with English subtitles. The second season of the series, which has Van Zandt playing the role of a New York mobster hiding in Norway as a government witness, contains more English dialogue than the first.